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Christie classic is murder on stage

The Kirk Players “The Moustrap” are Randy Rice Mundele(standing from left) Dominick Basso MundeleJames Torbeck MundeleJenny TomlMundeleCharley Pippenger Hawthorn Woods.

The Kirk Players of “The Moustrap” are Randy Rice of Mundelein (standing, from left), Dominick Basso of Mundelein, James Torbeck of Mundelein, Jenny Tomlin of Mundelein, Charley Pippenger of Hawthorn Woods. Also Bobbi LaBelle of Mundelein (seated, from left), Paula Marsh of Elgin and Nick Huebner of Barrington.

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Kirk Players, Mundelein High School
Auditorium, 1350 W. Hawley St.

7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25-27

$14, $12 students and seniors, $7 children
under 12

(847) 521-6192

Updated: October 18, 2012 5:06PM

Kirk Players opens its 47th season with a show that has an even longer history than the Mundelein-based theater company.

Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” celebrating its 60th anniversary, continues to keep audiences guessing.

Kat Basso of Mundelein jumped at the chance to direct this murder mystery. “Back in the day — when I was younger — I went through an Agatha Christie phase and I read everything of hers,” Basso explained.

Well, not quite everything. Somehow Basso never got around to “The Mousetrap.” That’s because it was a play and Basso only read Christie’s stories.

“It never made it into a movie,” Basso related. “This is one of those whodunits that Agatha would actually get on stage after the play had been performed and say, ‘Please do not speak about the play. Do not say whodunit.’ ”

Basso is keeping that silence for “The Mousetrap,” which she described as “pure Agatha Christie. She’s got very, very clever twists and turns, and she gives you so many good characters. There is always a possibility that whomever Miss Christie writes about could have been the murderer. That’s one of the things I wanted to make sure the audiences sees.

“The plot is super clever,” Basso continued, “but the actors are the ones that have to bring it out and they’re doing a great job.”

That includes Jenny Tomlin of Mundelein as Mollie Ralston, a young woman who, with her husband Giles (James Torbeck of Mundelein), recently inherited Monkswell Manor and turned it into an inn. “These are our first guests,” said Tomlin of the quirky people that arrive as the play opens. “We’re trying to figure everything out.”

Mollie is a people pleaser, indicated Tomlin, a Kirk player for about 14 years. “She wants to make sure everybody’s happy and everything is just right for all the guests.” Unfortunately, “Things start to go downhill rather quickly.”

That’s when, in the middle of a snowstorm, Detective Sergeant Trotter, played by eight-year Kirk Player Randy Rice of Mundelein, arrives to inform the innkeepers that a murder has occurred that appears to be linked to Monkswell Manor.

“He is kind of an eccentric character who has been brought in to investigate the murder of Mrs. Maureen Lyon,” Rice related. “They found clues at that murder site that led them to believe that there may be another murder at Monkswell Manor.”

Rice said that what’s unusual about Trotter is that, “You’re not really sure where this character is coming from. The quirkiness of my character adds to the suspense and the confusion.”

Audiences are in for a treat, actor Tomlin promised. “There’s enough twists and turns to keep everybody guessing,” she said. “And every single one of the actors is developing such a unique character.”

“It’s a great show,” Rice added. “And I think a lot of our audiences really enjoy murder mysteries. We’ve got an incredible cast of a lot of veteran Kirk Players — really first-rate actors and actresses.”

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